Browsing Tag


004 The Troll Ride

A girl’s clever sewing saves her from a magician, 

a groom almost misses his own wedding, 

a grandmother leaves her granddaughter an unusual quest.

Storypoem: The Golden Thread (a retelling of Anna Wahlenberg’s “The Magician’s Cape”)

Folk Tale: The Troll Ride (a retelling of Anna Wahlenberg’s “The Troll Ride”)

Rec. Read: “My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry,” by Frederik Backman*

*this book isn’t written for kids, but apart from some mild swearing and some scary moments, I think it’s kid-kosher. If you’re unsure, please read it yourself before sharing with the kids in your life. It’s certainly no scarier than most of my beloved books by Roald Dahl!

Nu Är Det Synd Om Dom Döda

A beautiful song by Kraja, for a beautiful afternoon on Lake Superior.

Nu är det synd om dom döda
som ej får sitta i vårens tid
och värma sig i solen
på ljus och ljuvlig blomsterlid

Men kanske viskade dom döda
då ord till vivan och violen
som inga levande förstår

Dom döda veta mer än andra
och kanske skulle dom när solen går
då, med en glädje djupare än vår
bland kvällens skuggor ännu vandra
i tankar på den hemlighet
som bara graven vet


Now it’s a shame about the dead
Who cannot sit in spring time
And warm themselves in the sun
In the bright and lovely season of flowers

But maybe the dead whispered
Words to the primrose and the violet
That no one living understands

The dead know more than others
And maybe when the sun sets
Then, with a joy deeper than ours
Among the shadows of the evening, they shall go walking
Thinking of the secrets
That only the grave knows.


From the “ScandiKitchen: Fika & Hygga” cookbook.


I tend to get anxious about making yeast breads– What if it won’t rise? what if the milk was too hot and I killed the yeast? What if it was too cold and now nothing is happening?

This is also why planting seeds is hard for me– Is anything happening? How deep is 1/8th inch anyway? I killed everything and will never eat sweet peas again!

Nevertheless, I really love baking. I really love cinnamon and cardamom. And I really love beautiful things. And I had some back-up muffins in the freezer for our B&B guests in case this completely failed.

In spite of my stage-worthy drama, and after extra time in a warm oven, it all turned out fine. I even got to use my off-set spatula. 🙂

Sweden has a holiday for cinnamon buns: Kanelbullans Dag. I was told this came about after VårfrudagenOur Lady’s Day, (Our Lady = Mary), was misheard as Våffeldagen, or Waffle Day. (Yet another reason why Sweden is a great country!)




Give it a try:


Note the notes. My mom always checks off and dates a recipe when she makes it for the first time– maybe that’s the historical society director in her. She also makes a note for if she liked the recipe or not. I didn’t write it here, but I would make another half-recipe of the filling and spread it a bit thicker.




Pepparkakor are ultrathin Swedish gingerbread cookies. Besides being delicious, you can wish on them!

Rest a pepparkaka in your palm and tap it with your knuckle– if it breaks into three peices (no more, no less)– your wish will come true!

This recipe comes from the days when I was a children’s Swedish teacher at the American Swedish Institute. Enjoy!

photo: Ben Dalton_flickr

Swedish Gingerbread Cookies

Yield: approx. 150 cookies (rolled thin!)

Note: dough must refrigerated overnight.

Bake at 375-400     5-10 minutes


1 ¼ c. sugar

8 Tbsp water

4 Tbsp corn syrup (I substituted 1 Tbsp with molasses)

1 Tbsp cinnamon

1 Tbsp ginger powder

2 tsp clove powder


1 ¾ sticks butter


2 tsp baking soda

3 C flour


Roll very thin, cut out, bake at 375 for 5-10 minutes. (7 minutes, in my oven).

Recipe courtesy of Helene Brännström Suh, Svenska Skolan teacher at the American Swedish Institute

Julglädje at the American Swedish Institute

I’ve known Ross Sutter my whole life (quite literally– he was friends with my parents when they all lived at Hothorpe Hall in England). I’ve gone from being one of the kids who joins in in his shows to being the one who plays the Pied Piper.

While Ross, Marya Hart and Cheryl Paschke play beautiful Swedish folk tunes, the kids and I sneak out, and I turn them into tomtes. Then we come back and they help me tell a story. (You can download it for free here).

Here’s a glimpse of the tomtes getting up to mischief. (Thanks for the video, mom!)

You can contact Ross Sutter if you’d like to bring Julglädje to your community.

Tomte Kajsa’s Rice Pudding Recipe

Nothing is tastier than cream, cinnamon and sugar– at least if you’re a Swede.

My family doesn’t stir this while it bakes, which results in a denser rice layer on the bottom and a delicious custard layer on top.

Be sure to mix in one almond– whoever finds it gets good luck (or a sweetheart, depending on the story) for the next year.

Listen to just how much tomtes love rice pudding (and download the story for free) here.

I tell Swedish Christmas stories as Tomte Kajsa. Past performances include the American Swedish Institute, Sons of Norway lodges, and culture clubs. If you’d like me to come to your event, just send a message.

Julgädje at the American Swedish Institute

julgladje banner

I’ve been dressing up as Tomte Kajsa and performing with Ross Sutter for years at this lovely event. This is the first time we get to kick off the season with shows the weekend right after Thanksgiving.

Beautiful music, a chance for the kids to be part of the show, and traditional dances around the tree.

Be sure to leave time for a trip through the Turnblad Mansion, all decked out for the holiday.

TICKETS: $5 ASI members adult; $3 ASI member child /$6 nonmember adult

Information here.